When done correctly, an SEO strategy that utilizes city-specific pages can be a client magnet and skyrocket your local SEO success. Although this seems like a good idea to generate more traffic to your website, it must be done correctly for it to work. I see it all the time, clients who have a city targeted page for each of their services. Unfortunately, more times than not, these pages generate little to no traffic for their targeted cities. In this article, I’ll discuss the exact strategy I use to boost my client’s traffic in different nearby cities and how you can leverage this on your website.
City Pages: Good or Bad for SEO?
City targeting is not what it used to be in the SEO industry. In the days of old, city pages were used to stuff in local keywords to gain higher rankings on Google, and truthfully, it worked. However, as Google has evolved and become more intelligent with its ranking algorithms, Google is now able to much better understand user intent and the content on your website.
For example, previously you could create a “Car Accident Attorney in Philadelphia” page. Then, copy that same content onto several different pages, each one with a different city in the keyword, “Car Accident Attorney in Reading”, “Car Accident Attorney in West Chester”, “Car Accident Attorney in Cherry Hill”, etc.
It didn’t take long for Google to notice this spammy tactic. Since then, Google has heavily discouraged this type of duplicate content and warns against its ineffectiveness. Creating outdated city pages similar to the example mentioned above could hurt your law firm SEO strategy, but if city pages are created correctly, they can be a huge asset for your website. So, how do you create effective geo-targeted city pages?
Make Your Most Important City Pages Unique
In terms of making the city pages effective and valuable, it’s crucial that you write original content for each area or city. When you take this approach, though, you must make sure the content on each page is unique. And no, I don’t mean simply changing the word “attorney” to “lawyer.” You need to do extra research on your targeted location, then go ahead and write specific and helpful information for readers in the area.
- If you’re an attorney, talk about the increased number of DUI charges in that area
- Talk about how these cases are handled in that area and the specific courts that will hear your case
- Write about a specific case result from that city
Adding information about a city or town is also a great way to build your clients’ confidence and show Google that you truly do represent clients in this area. Both the client and Google will see how much you know their area, and trust you to solve their area-specific problems.
5 Tips on Optimizing for Local Search
1. Use Google My Business
Remember, Google’s mission is to organize information and make it accessible to online searchers. Its goal is to give people exactly what they’re looking for. This means, if they can verify your business, you’ll have a higher chance of ranking on the SERPs.
Enter, Google My Business optimization.
When you register on Google My Business, Google will be confident about sharing your content with searchers. The good news is Google My Business is free and easy to use. Simply create an account, claim your business, and fill in as much information as you can about it. Photos and customer reviews (plus replying to reviews) can also help you optimize your Google My Business account.
2. Get Into the Google’s Local Map Pack
Have you ever done a local search and gotten three featured suggestions from Google? This is what we in the SEO industry refer to as the “Local 3 Pack”. This ranking position is incredibly valuable to local businesses and something all business owners should try to achieve for their primary keywords. Chances are, searchers will pick one of them and look no further for their legal needs. And with the right techniques, you can be part of this local Map Pack. Check out my in-depth article on the 2021 Google My Business ranking factors and learn how you can increase your chances of making it to one of the three coveted slots. Below is an example of one of my clients, Hyatt & Goldbloom, ranking for one of the most difficult terms in the personal injury industry, “Baltimore car accident lawyer“.
3. Build Your Internal Linking Structure
Did you know that tweaking your internal linking structure will help boost your personal injury SEO, family law SEO, and others? Sure, external links pointing to your site are great. But if you can’t get them yet, internal linking will help you:
- Improve your website navigation.
- Show Google which of your site’s pages are most important.
- Improve your website’s architecture.
- Improve indexing frequency
All these will help you rank higher on Google and increase your chances of discovery by someone doing a local search.
4. Build Your NAP Citations
NAP stands for name, address, and phone number. Generally, it stands for your business information online. The first place you want your NAP on is your website. You can always input this information at the bottom of your homepage, where visitors expect to find it. It’s also a great idea to list your business information on online data aggregators. These aggregators provide data to top sites like TripAdvisor, Yelp, and Microsoft Bing. Listing your website on all the top aggregators sounds tedious, but it’s worthwhile if you want to get a feature like this. Below are three you shouldn’t miss:
5. Optimize Your Site for Mobile
If you wake up in the middle of the night to find your bathroom flooding with water from an exploded faucet, do you:
- Run to your laptop and do a local search for the best emergency plumber?
- Grab your phone and type “emergency plumber” into your Chrome app?
If it’s 3 a.m. chances are you chose #2. But here’s the thing, people don’t only choose their smartphones over their computers at 3 a.m, they do it all the time. In fact, about 52% of all website traffic comes from a mobile device.
As usual, Google noticed and moved to mobile-first indexing. All this means your site has to be optimized for mobile if you want to rank well on Google, especially for local SEO. Here are six tips on making your website mobile-friendly.
- Make sure your website is responsive, fitting nicely into different screen sizes
- Don’t make your buttons too small
- Prioritize large fonts
- Forget about pop-ups and text-blockers
- Put your important information front-and-center
- If you’re using WordPress, make sure you work with a website designer who utilizes responsive elements
Ready to Target Local SEO?
Your business is open and running, and you’re ready to bring in those loyal customers. But as you optimize your website, a few questions remain. Should you create or not to create city pages? Is it worthwhile to spend time on your site for local SEO?
The truth is, local SEO can work wonders for you. But you need to do it correctly, otherwise, it can be a gigantic waster of time. A good rule of thumb is to put yourself in your customers’ shoes. Ask yourself, what are they looking for? What kind of information will help them? With their perspective in mind, it’ll be easier to know which local SEO practices will work and which won’t. If you’re looking to improve your local SEO strategy, reach out to me today and book a free website analysis. I’d be happy to walk you through what I would do if I were you and how to grow your website’s traffic in the future.